Tag Archives: Chicken recipes

FRIDAY FEAST with Cathryn Hein

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Greetings once more from the food and book marvel that is Friday Feast. This week: an important announcement, a tasty tagine and I bore entertain you once again with that most splendiferous of rural romance novellas, Summer and the Groomsman.

Did you know this series has been going for over four years now? That’s a loooong time in bloglandia. Every week for eleven months of the year we’ve had Australian authors sharing their latest releases and mouth-watering recipes, and it’s been a blast!

ARRA Booksigning - Cathryn HeinBut it’s also been quite time consuming and has on more than one occasion taken me away from my writing. Given that I have plans for world literary domination (and, really, who doesn’t?) I need to take a bit more care of my writing time, so it is with no little sorrow that I inform you that Friday Feast will soon be ending as a regular blog post. It will, however, pop up from time to time when I or one of my lovely author friends are in the mood for some foodie fun.

Righty-o, let’s return to normal programming with the dubious joy that is Us Heins Weren’t Meant To Play Golf.

Steady is the way I’d describe my golf game at the moment. Nothing special but kicking along nicely, which is good. One doesn’t want to peak too early when next week sees the ladies Medal of Medals playoff, and this one is going to be hard-fought, let me tell you. This competition takes all the year’s monthly medal winners and pits them against each other in one round, like a best of the best battle. It’ll be tough and competitive, and as convivial as all our games are. I’ll probably get all nervous and screw it up as usual, but that’s okay. The sun will hopefully be shining and the ladies will be their normal lovely selves and we’ll all have a great day regardless.

And now, another gawp at Summer and the Groomsman because I know you can’t get enough of Mr Sexy on the cover. I certainly can’t!

SUMMER AND THE GROOMSMAN

Cover of Summer and the Groomsman by Cathryn HeinIt’s Levenham’s wedding of the year but unlucky-in-love Harry Argyle has more on his mind than being groomsman.

After yet again nearly colliding with an escaped horse while driving home to the family farm, Harry Argyle comes face-to-face with its pretty owner, and doesn’t hold back his disapproval.

Confronted by a bad-tempered giant on a dark country road, beautician and new arrival in town Summer Taylor doesn’t know who to be more afraid for: herself or her darling horse Binky. It’s not her fault Binky keeps escaping. The alcoholic owner of the paddock she rents won’t fix the fence and Binky can be sneaky when it comes to filling his stomach. But no matter how big and muscled the bully, she refuses to be intimidated.

When Harry’s wedding party book a session at the day spa where Summer works, both she and Harry are horrified to be paired together. Grudgingly, they agree to make the most of it – only for the session to spiral into disaster. Realising he’s made a dill of himself in front of sweet Summer yet again, Harry vows to set things right.

Summer isn’t about to easily forgive the man who called her horse stupid, no matter how brave and kind, but with everyone on Harry’s side, even fate, resistance is hard. Can these two find love or will Summer’s wayward horse put his hoof in it again?

Mr Sexy is available right now from Amazon.com, Amazon.au, Amazon.uk, iBooks, Kobo and Nook. Go on. You know you want him.

Can’t stand ebooks? Stay tuned for news on the print edition, coming soon!

Now for some talk about…

Tantalising Tagines

We love a good tagine in the Hein house. They’re so easy and great for a Friday night when we’re after something set-and-forget. With their lovely spices and addition of dried or fresh fruit these are the casseroles of the Middle-East and Mediterranean, but unlike normal casseroles which tend to favour the cooler months, tagines suit warm weather dining too.

Terracotta Tagine

My trusty terracotta tagine

I probably don’t need to tell you that tagines are named after the conical cooking vessel in which they’re cooked. I have two of these now. The first tagine is a traditional terracotta version that you have to soak overnight in water to ensure the pottery is moist enough to cope with cooking heat, and, I suspect, also adds a certain je ne sais quoi to the end dish.

Stupidly not having brought one home from France with us (where we could have snaffled one for about €5), back then we had to hunt around to find our terracotta tagine. Now these things are everywhere and made out of everything from stainless steel to ceramic, cast iron, copper and combinations in between.

One of the things that disappointed us about our terracotta version was its small size and shallow bowl. More than half a kilo of meat and it would overflow. As we like to cook double amounts and freeze the rest for lazy times this was a bit of an inconvenience, leading us to keep an eye out for a new one.

Scanpan tagine

My shiny new Scanpan tagine

Cast iron looked cool but would have weighed a tonne. Because of the soaking necessity, a large terracotta one would have been bothersome and require too much forward planning. The ceramic ones were okay but… nah. Then we spotted the Scanpan version and were lovestruck. So shiny, so pretty, so perfect in its sleek dimensions. Best of all, so easy to clean and no overnight soaking required. We had to have it.

And it’s proved a cracker! I’m your basic overexcitable home cook and don’t for one second consider my food authentic to any cuisine, and our tagines probably don’t even come close to the unique flavours of the traditional, but they’re pretty bloody tasty all the same. Lamb with dates, beef with raisins, meatballs in tomato sauce with baked eggs… we’ve made all sorts.

One of our favourites though, is the one I’m going to share today: Chicken Tagine with Lemon and Dates. I have a feeling the original recipe was torn out from a newspaper but, as usual, we’ve tweaked the ingredients and method to suit our own tastes and cooking laziness. With its gold and lemony hues it looks like a summer dish, and the flavours? Sweet, spicy and lovely. And now we have a larger tagine we can make it in the full amount and have leftovers.

No tagine? Never fear! Simply use a normal casserole.

Chicken Tagine with Lemon and Dates

Serves four

Chicken Lemon and Date Tagine

4 chicken marylands, thigh and leg separated

Olive oil

4 cloves garlic, finely chopped

2 teaspoons paprika dolce

2 teaspoons ground cumin

2 teaspoons ground turmeric

2 teaspoons ginger, freshly grated

1/2 preserved lemon, flesh removed, rinsed and pith sliced finely

1/2 lemon, finely sliced

Salt and pepper

2 onions, finely chopped

8 fresh dates, pitted and cut into halves crossways

Coriander leaves.

Mix spices, garlic, ginger, preserved lemon and lemon slices together with a few tablespoons of olive oil in a large bowl. Season with salt and pepper. Throw in chicken pieces and toss until well coated in the spice mix. Leave to marinate for an hour.

Heat the tagine base over medium heat. Add a splash or two of olive oil and throw in sliced onions. Cook, stirring, until a few minutes until softened then add 250ml of water and mix. Add chicken and stir then top with tagine lid and simmer for 30 minutes.

After 30 minutes, add dates and bake a further 15 minutes or until chicken is cooked through. Season well, sprinkle with coriander and serve with couscous to mop up all the lovely spicy juices.

*

So Feasty ones, what’s your favourite cooking vessel? Or maybe you prefer a no-fuss barbecue or not to cook at all?

Besides my tagine, which I luuurve, and my wok which I’d be useless without, my favourite dish is probably my super-sized copper pan. It makes the best casseroles, even beating the enamel-coated cast iron pots for delicious results. No idea why but I imagine it has something to do with the evenness of its heat distribution. I also have a thing about my Le Creuset terrine. It just looks fab!

What about you? Share away. You might convince us of the need for something shiny and new.

If you’d like to learn more about me or my books, have a potter around the website where you’ll find cool things like The Story Behind pages for each of my books, and more. You can also connect with me on Facebook, Twitter using @CathrynHein, Google +, Goodreads and Pinterest.

Friday Feast recipe index link.

FRIDAY FEAST with Melanie Scott

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Greetings, food and booklovers, and welcome to another session of Friday Feast goodness. This week we’re getting sporty (and not with golf either), plus share a super delish and easy to bake dinner and offer a super-hunky giveaway!

But first, Us Heins Weren’t Meant To Play Golf news. Alas, as predicted, my newly lowered handicap proved a psychological barrier too high and I failed to play to it. This was to be expected. As my father – bless him – has proven many times, when it comes to the sport we love but are cursed by, us Heins have no mental strength. We are, however stubbornly persistent. A personality fault we can’t seem to remedy. Sigh.

Now onto the promised funstuff!

Author Melanie ScottThis week’s guest is Melanie Scott, whose novel Devil in Denim, the first in her New York Saints baseball series, I read and adored. The second, Angel in Armani, has just released and looks an absolute cracker. That smokin’ cover doesn’t hurt either (although wait until you see book three, Lawless in Leather. Phwoar!) .

You don’t have to be a sports or baseball fan to enjoy these steamy contemporary stories because while the settings centre around a baseball team, the plots concern the Saints’ sexy alpha male owners and the equally determined women in their lives. Yep, it’s all about the luurve.

Rightly so, too.

ANGEL IN ARMANI

Cover of Angel in Armani by Melanie ScottWILL A LOVE OF THE GAME

Sara Charles is trying not to strike out. With her dad out of commission, Charles Air has only one helicopter left-and only one Sara to fly charters. With the family business in jeopardy, Sara needs all the clients she can get and the newest one is New York Saints team surgeon, Lucas Angelo. When an unexpected flirtation escalates into a night of pure blind passion, Sara realizes she may have just blown the game. To stay in play, she vows to avoid Lucas and keep her mind on her business and only her business. But there’s a catch: she needs him–in more ways than one.

LEAD TO A FIELD OF DREAMS?

Lucas thought he had his head in the game until his night with Sara throws him off balance. Spring training is upon him, and his schedule is madness but he can’t forget her. So he makes an offer she can’t refuse. Be his personal pilot and earn the money she needs to save Charles Air. She intends to keep him at arm’s length–especially when she discovers just how different their worlds are. Little does Sara know that, for Lucas, the only thing more important than business is pleasure. He only plays to win. And he intends to hit it out of the park…

How cool does that sound? If it’s anything like the reviews are saying then it’s going to be as good, if not better than, Devil in Denim.  Secure your copy of Angel in Armani now via BooktopiaBookworld, Book Depository, Amazon.com, Amazon.ukAmazon.au, iBooks US, iBooks Aust, Barnes & Noble, Google Play, Kobo, JB Hi-Fi or your favourite retailer.

Sorted? Time to enjoy a tasty meal then!

Lazy Cooking or Yay For Nigella And Jamie

I’ve always loved a good roast dinner. My mum does a great one and we’d have it for weekend dinners fairly regularly (and she still does them when I go home to visit, yay). Roast lamb or chicken with roast potatoes, pumpkin, carrots, parsnip and all the trimmings. Delicious. But for some reason it’s something I rarely bother to cook at home. It always seems like a bit of a drama with having to time everything to be ready together etc. Plus lots of washing up that needs to be scrubbed. So when I was watching Nigella Lawson one day and saw her do a tray bake of chicken pieces with chorizo and potatoes, I was kind of intrigued. Cooked all in one pan, not huge amounts of meat left over. Shorter cooking time. Right up my alley. And about the same time I saw Jamie Oliver do the same thing. Since then a lazy chicken tray bake has become one of my favourite weekend dinners. Feels like a roast without any of the fuss. Genius.

My heroine in Angel in Armani, Sara Charles, is definitely a no kind of fuss dinner gal. She’s a helicopter pilot who’s struggling to keep the family business afloat so no time for fussing in the kitchen. This would be exactly her kind of thing.

Easy Chicken Tray Bake

Inspired by Nigella Lawson (see an example here and Jamie Oliver here).

Melanie Scott's Chicken Tray BakeIngredients

8 chicken thighs or wings. Skin on is better, take the skin off after cooking if you don’t want to eat it. You can also use chicken Maryland pieces.

Handful of cherry tomatoes

1 sweet potato or a few potatoes

Other vegies to taste (I use carrot/zucchini/onion/pumpkin)

3-4 cloves of garlic (unpeeled)

Olive oil or spray

Pepper and salt

Optional pancetta or chorizo (roughly sliced for the pancetta and chopped into inch or so chunks for the chorizo)

Heat oven to 180 Celsius.

Line a roasting pan with baking paper (makes clean up lazy too!)

Season the chicken with whatever you like (sage or thyme, spicy rub or just good old salt and pepper) and place in the tray

Chop the vegetables other than the tomatoes and garlic into smallish chunks (maybe an inch or so wide). If using pancetta or chorizo chop as well.

Put vegies in the pan around the chicken then add the tomatoes and garlic cloves and chorizo/bacon if using.

Add a good splash or two of olive oil (or spray well with olive oil spray)

Season with pepper and salt to taste

Bake in oven for 30 minutes then turn chicken and vegetables over. If using olive oil spray you may need to spray again. Bake another 30 minutes or so until chicken is done.

Serve with gravy or chutney or on its own.

Bonus tip, if cooking for one person use just 2-3 pieces of chicken and cook the same amount of vegies and use the leftovers later to make frittata or in a salad or on pizza etc. If you don’t want to do this, then just use a smaller tray or a small square casserole dish to roast in.

After you’ve served up, whip the baking paper out of the tray, put the tray to soak and there will be minimal scrubbing required in the clean up stage!

 

Thanks, Melanie. That sounds seriously yum. I love how easy it is to put together and can be adapted to whatever happens to be in your vegie keeper. Recipes like that are gold.

Speaking of gold, we have a…

GIVEAWAY!

Yes, folks, it’s time to share the sporty love. Melanie has generously offered a copy (ebook or paperback) of Angel in Armani to giveaway to one lucky commenter.

All you have to do is answer this simple question: What’s your favorite easy delicious dinner?

Ooh, I have several! Pastas and stir fries are at the top of the list, but I’m a terrible sucker for a good soup and with the pressure cooker fired up they can be whipped up in no time. What about you, dear Feasters? Maybe you have a one pot recipe for when you don’t feel like cooking much, or perhaps a healthy salad that can be assembled in seconds. Share away and we’ll pop you in the draw.

Giveaway closes midnight Tuesday AEST, 17th February 2015. Open internationally. Rah!

If you’d like to learn more about Melanie and her books, please visit her website. You can also connect via Facebook and Twitter using @melscott.

 

This giveaway has now closed. Congratulations to Jillian who has won a copy of Melanie’s fabulous Angel in Armani. Thanks to everyone who joined in the Friday Feast fun. As always there were some wonderful suggestions for easy dinners. Thanks!

FRIDAY FEAST with Jodie Blight

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Season’s greetings! Or should that be summer greetings? Either way, welcome to the plumptiousness that is Friday Feast.

I am SO EXCITED TODAY! Seriously, you have no idea. Why? Because today we host our first cookbook author. *cue much squeeing and stamping of feet* Yes, my little puddings, the Feast is going professional.

But first, to the utter unprofessionalism that is Us Heins Weren’t Meant To Play Golf… Oh, who cares? I don’t. I played poo, yada yada. Good. Now that’s out of the way we can move on to our guest.

Jodie Blight is a Melbourne mother of two young boys who has just launched Summer TABLE, a beautiful and accessible cookbook designed to make your life easier.

Jodie Blight, author of Summer TableJodie’s book draws on her experiences of having been a high flyer in finance, turned full-time mother, living in and out of Australia. During four years in Holland raising her family, she lived in a small Dutch village, with no takeaway food shops and where the supermarket closed at 5 pm on weekdays and didn’t open on Sundays. Jodie was forced to creatively plan and prepare her family meals. This is where the concept of Summer TABLE was born.

And what a concept! Summer TABLE shows how leftovers can be easily transformed, plus half the recipes take less than 15 minutes to prep and cook, and Jodie offers a step by step guide to cooking, storing and keeping food to help time-poor people get the most out of each supermarket visit.

Seriously, you do not want to miss this…

Summer TABLE

Summer TABLE cookbookSummer TABLE answers the age old question, ‘What’s for dinner tonight?’ with over 100 recipes for fast, delicious and healthy meals for every night of summer.

Not only does it solve the dinner dilemma but the shopping dilemma too! Incorporated within the book is a free App – scan a QR code from a recipe in the cookbook and produce a shopping list on your smartphone, with all the items you need sorted into the supermarket sections. A brand new concept of bringing the old world of a hard copy cookbook and combining it with the new world of technology. A first in the cookbook world!

The reviews from those who have purchased Summer TABLE have been nothing short of fantastic. Founder of Carman’s Fine Foods Carolyn Creswell says Summer TABLE provides helpful inspiration for her and her husband juggling work and family: “With a busy family, we struggle with the challenge of creating interesting and healthy dinners every night of the week. Getting dinner on the table fast is a necessity, but being suitable for both kids and adults is essential. The homemade pizzas are a favourite in our family. Summer TABLE will inspire you for a summer of family meals with fantastic flavours”.

Summer TABLE is available from many independent bookstores across Australia, Dymocks, Big W and www.hellotable.com.au.

A perfect Christmas present for yourself, friends or family.  Maybe even a Kris Kringle!

So, now that we’ve solved your Christmas present buying dilemmas (you’re welcome, my darlings), please give a big Feasty hello to Jodie. And enjoy!

For Some Strange Reason My Family Insist

On Being Fed Every Single Night!

Summer is my favourite time of the year. The incredible lime green of the leaves, the warm sun high in the sky, the birds singing in the trees – ahhh life is good … but the serenity is always broken by those three chilling words: “What’s for dinner?”

For some strange reason my family insist on being fed every single night!

Coming up with interesting, quick and healthy recipes for dinner every night is enough to send even the best cook into the depths of despair. And when it comes to the Christmas feast, it doesn’t matter whether you are cooking for a few or for a whole tribe, it can be extremely daunting.

So as I see it, my options are:

-prepare for weeks and spend all Christmas day in the kitchen (ignoring the children’s requests for batteries, or assistance to assemble the latest gadget) or …

-relax with a glass of champagne, dodging the toy helicopter hovering above while my ankles get battered by the remote control car below.

Need I say more?

Allow me to take a step back for a moment. The idea for Summer TABLE began back in 2005 when we moved to Europe with my husband’s work. I was a young mum living in a foreign village where there was no takeaway food, the supermarket closed at 5 pm on weekdays and there was no Sunday shopping. I often got ‘caught out’ and had to produce interesting and tasty meals with whatever I had in the fridge. Out of necessity I needed to think ahead, and through my desperation came innovation.

In my attempt to be the ‘hostess with the mostest’ I always cook way too much and our tradition of Sunday roasts with family and friends results in lots of leftovers. As a lover of good food (and I admit, a little frugal), I became accomplished at creating tasty, quick and healthy meals with the abundance of beautiful food left over from Sunday. The best part was no one knew they were eating leftovers (well, not until now).

I set myself the task to use all the leftovers in innovative new ways. As the personal challenge grew, I found myself deliberately making extra for the Sunday roast, since it required no more time or effort. My husband was often surprised at how much food there was and regularly asked, with a concerned look and a quiver in his voice,  “How many people are coming today?”

And Summer TABLE was born.

Anyway, I digress. Back to Christmas. Just in case it does need to be said “I choose the glass of Champagne, while dodging miniature attack missiles”. Surprised????

I have to admit, the best Christmas lunch we have ever had, (and when I say best, I mean most delicious and most enjoyable) was last year. For entree, I bought lots of cooked prawns, already peeled by our wonderful fishmonger Phil, and served them with a Mango and Avocado Salad. It took less than 10 minutes to throw together.

For the main fare, sliced ham and a roast chicken, served with Haloumi and Watermelon Salad and Orange and Fennel Salad. Both salads ooze summer, so beautifully fresh and ridiculously quick to prepare.

I thought I would share all my easy Christmas recipes with you today. Ooops – did you say only one recipe Cathryn? I have never been very good at following the rules when it comes to talking about my favourite topic – FOOD and WINE!

Prawns with Mango and Avocado Salad

Prawns with Mango and Avocado Salad from Summer TABLEPrep time 10 minutes   Cook time 0 minutes   Total time 10 minutes   Serves 4

4 handfuls mixed lettuce leaves

2 mangoes, cut into cubes

½ red onion, thinly sliced

20 cooked prawns, peeled and deveined

2 avocados, cut into cubes

1 handful coriander leaves, chopped

1 long red chilli, chopped (optional)

Dressing

2 tablespoons white condiment (white balsamic vinegar)

6 tablespoons olive oil

1 tablespoon honey

½ tablespoon wholegrain mustard

In a large bowl or on a platter, arrange lettuce, mango, onion, prawns and avocado.

To make dressing, shake ingredients in a jar until combined. Taste and adjust to your liking. Pour over salad, and sprinkle with coriander leaves and chilli.

Juicy Roast Chicken

Juicy Roast Chicken from Summer TABLEPrep time 2 minutes  Cook time 1 hour 20 minutes  Total time 1 hour 30 minutes  Serves 8

2 chickens

2 lemons, cut into quarters

4 thyme sprigs

salt and pepper

Preheat oven to 240C. Place a rack over a deep baking tray and fill tray with water until just below the rack (make sure the chickens are not touching the water). Place a small strip of baking paper down the middle of the rack to stop the chicken skin from sticking. Fill the cavities of the chickens with the cut lemon and thyme and place chickens (starting breast side up) on the rack. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and place in oven for 20 minutes.

Take the chickens out of the oven, remove from the tray, turn them over and put them back on the paper over the rack, breast side down. Then reduce the temperature to 190C and cook for a further hour or until the juices run clear. When cooked remove from oven, cover and rest for 10 minutes.

This method will produce the juiciest roast chicken you have ever tasted. Serve with some gravy using the juices from the tray, with its subtle lemon flavour.

Haloumi and Watermelon Salad

Haloumi and Watermelon Salad from Summer TABLEPrep time 10 minutes   Cook time 2 minutes   Total time 10 minutes   Serves 4

¼ watermelon

180 g haloumi, 1 cm thick slices

1–2 tablespoons olive oil

lemon juice

Yoghurt dressing

2 tablespoons Greek yoghurt

1 tablespoon mint sauce

1 handful mint leaves, chopped

Cut watermelon and haloumi into 1 cm thick slices with a similar shape and size.

Heat olive oil in a non-stick frying pan on medium heat. Toss haloumi slices in the oil, then fry the cheese for 1 minute each side until golden brown.

In a small bowl, mix dressing ingredients. Taste and adjust to your liking.

Arrange the haloumi and watermelon in alternating layers across a plate. Drizzle the dressing over the salad and top off with a squeeze of lemon juice. Best served while the cheese is still warm.

Orange and Fennel Salad

Orange and Fennel Salad from Summer TABLEPrep time 10 minutes   Cook time 0 minutes   Total time 10 minutes   Serves 4

4 handfuls mixed lettuce leaves

2 oranges, peeled and thinly sliced

1 bulb fresh fennel, finely sliced

½ red onion, finely sliced

1 handful coriander leaves, chopped

Dressing

3 tablespoons orange juice

6 tablespoons olive oil

2 tablespoons white condiment (white balsamic vinegar)

1 tablespoon wholegrain mustard

Place lettuce, oranges, fennel and onion in a salad bowl or on a platter.

To make dressing, shake ingredients in a jar until combined. Taste and adjust to your liking. Pour over salad and toss together.

Sprinkle with coriander.

There you have it. A Christmas feast ready in moments. For the sake of completeness, I feel the urge to give you a few ideas on wines to serve with these dishes. Everyone has different tastes when it comes to their favourite beverage and any of these dishes would be perfect served with bubbles or beer. But in case you are looking for some inspiration, these are my suggestions:

Prawns served with a crisp Shaw and Smith Sauvignon Blanc 2014 SA (my personal favourite)

Juicy Roast Chicken served with a fruity Fraser Gallop Chardonnay 2013 WA

Ham perfectly matched with the Christmassy flavours (raspberry, cherry and spice) of a NV Seppelt Original Sparkling Shiraz Vintage.

And my final thoughts on the Christmas Feast, what to do with the leftovers? Surely I can’t be the only one who cooks way too much for Christmas day. How about using the leftover chicken for a Chicken and Nectarine Salad the next day?  Or try Vietnamese Chicken Noodles, Chicken San Choi Bow or a Caesar Salad, just to name a few. When you have eaten all the ham sandwiches you can eat, and you can’t face one more morsel, why not make Pea and Ham Soup and freeze it for winter! Crazy huh!

We are all busy and want quick, healthy and delicious meals. Thoughts of planning the Christmas feast shouldn’t drag us down. Christmas means fun, soaking up the sun, laughing with family and friends, and enjoying fresh, delicious food without the stress. Hopefully Summer TABLE will inspire you to put variety and zest back on your table.

Jodie

 

Thank you, Jodie. You have been wonderfully generous giving us not only ideas for stress-free Christmas cooking, but a great insight into what Summer TABLE has to offer. And suggested WINES!!! *faints*

So, my darling Feasty lovelies, time for a little sharing. What are your tips for a stress-free Christmas?

I’ll let you in on mine: let someone else do it. Yes, I know, not very helpful but it does make for enjoyable entertaining. Other than that, seafood n salad. Can’t beat it.

What about you? Maybe you buy delectable items in or make gourmet delights and freeze them in advance. Share your tips and help us all get through the silly season. God knows, most of us need all the help we can get!QR Code for Summer Table

If you’d like to learn more about Jodie and her cookbooks, please visit her website Hello TABLE. You can also find her on Facebook and on Twitter using @HelloTABLE

Want to test out Jodie’s app? Scan this QR code with your smartphone and learn how it all works!

 

 

FRIDAY FEAST with Christina Phillips

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And another fantastic Friday rolls around. This week I’ll actually get some Swans footy!

With my darling boys having a bye last week it was all a bit colourless in the Hein house, although the neighbours were probably grateful. No mad yelling at the telly to put up with. There was the Open golf, of course, but that’s not really a sport to get yelly on the couch about, is it?

Which brings me to some Us Heins Weren’t Meant To Play Golf news. Despite not playing to the handicap I already have, I somehow managed to shave another stroke off it over the weekend. ‘Tis this newfangled Slope/GA Handicap system. It can sneak up and bite you on the bum and not even offset the pain with a win!

Speaking of winning, this could be you on Friday Feast this week. But more on that later…

Today’s guest is Christina Phillips, an ex-pat Brit who now lives in sunny Western Australia with her high school sweetheart and their family. Christina writes scorching-hot paranormal, historical and contemporary romance. Not only are her stories super steamy, they’re gorgeously written, which is why she’s a triple finalist in the 2013 ARRA Awards for Favorite Erotic Romance, and finalist in the 2012 ARRA Awards for Favorite Paranormal Romance. Christina is a also a double finalist in the EC Golden Ankh Awards for Favorite E-book of the Year 2014.

Check out Christina’s latest release, Her Vengeful Scot.

HER VENGEFUL SCOT

Her Vengeful ScotTo avenge his sister’s honor, he must destroy the woman he wants most in the world…

Ordered to remain in Pictland, Cameron MacNeil fights the lust that consumes him whenever he encounters the aloof princess, Elise. Not only is she a cursed Pict, she belongs to the man he has vowed vengeance upon.

Despite her reputation, Elise has no interest in men until she meets Cameron. Lacking the famed Scots charm, his blunt ways enchant her and he ignites a passion she long thought dead. When she is freed from her difficult marriage, Elise places her trust in the tough Scot warrior who has stolen her heart.

Bound by blood oaths, the only way Cam can protect Elise from political schemes is to make her his bride. When Elise discovers the truth, she fears everything she knew about her husband was a lie. All she can do is trust her goddess was right and Cameron is her one true love.

Go on, admit it. You’re after a bit of hot Scot right now, aren’t you? So get clicking! Buy Her Vengeful Scot right now from Amazon, Kobo, Google Play, All Romance eBooks, Barnes & Noble, or the publisher Ellora’s Cave,

All loaded up? Excellent. Now give a big welcome to Christina.

Hunting Out Good Food

Thank you Cathryn for inviting me onto your Friday Feast today!

Well over in WA it’s been both cold and wet (I know I should be used to this kind of weather since I hail from England but uh, no.) So I thought today I’d share a yummy winter meal that my mum used to make when I was a child. She only made it on rare occasions, probably because it takes two and a half hours prep time (excuse me while I laugh hysterically at this point! And never fear, this version takes about 10 minutes prep time which is not only far more civilized but also about my limit!!)

We knew it as Chicken Hunter Style and to my shame it was only when I was an adult that I realised it was an Italian dish by the far more exotic name of Chicken Cacciatore 🙂

There are of course many variations of this dish, including adding various peppers. I don’t bother adding peppers to anything since my darling family will meticulously fish out every single one on their plates before they can take the first bite. On the other hand I do add celery because I love cooked celery even though said beloved family… don’t 🙂

Chicken Hunter Style Recipe

Chicken Hunter Style

One four pound chicken cut into pieces

Salt

2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

1 thinly sliced medium onion

226g thickly sliced mushrooms

2 thinly sliced garlic cloves

1/3 cup red or white wine

1 810g can of plum tomatoes in their juice (or 21/2 to 3 cups of peeled and chopped firm ripe tomatoes with their juices. Guess which I do…)

1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1 teaspoon dry thyme (or 2 teaspoons fresh, chopped)

1 teaspoon dry oregano (or 2 teaspoons fresh, chopped)

Method

Rinse, pat dry and season chicken with salt. Heat oil on medium heat and brown the chicken pieces. Set chicken aside.

Add sliced onions and mushrooms to the pan (and any peppers or celery 🙂 ) Cook until onions are translucent then add the garlic and cook for another minute.

Add the wine and give it a good stir. Simmer until the wine is reduced by half and then add the tomatoes and stir in the pepper, thyme, oregano and a teaspoon of salt. Simmer uncovered for 5 minutes. Place chicken pieces on top, skin side up, lower the heat and cover with the lid slightly ajar.

Cook on a low simmer, turning and basting from time to time, until chicken is tender (about 30 to 40 minutes).

 

Ah, now there’s a lovely fast recipe to keep the hordes happy this winter. Thanks, Christina. I can just imagine this with a load of crusty bread to mop up all the juices. Mmm.

Speaking of juicy things, we have a…

GIVEAWAY!

Christina is very generously offering one lucky reader the chance to win an ebook copy ofhersavagescott_msr the first in her Highland Warrior Series, Her Savage ScotAll you have to do is tell us in the comments what your favourite casserole is. Easy!

Perhaps you’re a bit partial to an Irish stew, or lean toward the spicy with some chilli con carne. Maybe a vegetarian stew is your go? Share, and we’ll pop you into the draw to win an ebook copy of Her Savage Scot.

Giveaway closes midnight Tuesday AEST, 29th July 2014. Open internationally. Rah!

If you’d like to learn more about Christina and her wonderful books, please visit her website. You can also connect via Facebook, Goodreads and Twitter using @christinaPh_

This giveaway has now closed. Congratulations to Meredith who has won her own sizzling hot Scot! Thanks to everyone for playing along. Always a hoot!

 

FRIDAY FEAST with Sarah Mayberry

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It’s Friiiiiday and what better way to celebrate this most favourite of days than with fantastic food and fabulous fiction?

I know… FOOTY! Yes, my darling Sydney Swans AFL team had a win. About time, too. This losing business was leaving me very flat. I think that’s what’s been affecting my golf. I had the footy sooks. Speaking of Us Heins Weren’t Meant To Play Golf news, I played rather well last week. For nine holes. Then it all collapsed in a muttering heap. But for nine blissful holes it was happening. No balls in the water, no thieving crows to upset me. Lovely.Author Sarah Mayberry

Speaking of lovely (oh, I am the segue QUEEN!), today’s guest is most certainly that. Lovely, and an amazing author. It’s no wonder I have serious fangirlness. Sarah Mayberry writes amazing books with brilliant dialogue and storylines that hook you from the first page. I’ve just finished reading the first of her April releases, Satisfaction. Oh boy, was that good. Really, really good, but I’ve come to expect that from Sarah. Which is why I’m very excited about her second April release, Her Kind of Trouble. Can’t wait to read this one!

HER KIND OF TROUBLE

Cover of Her Kind of Trouble by Sarah MayberryIt takes one to know one 

The moment Vivian Walker spies Seth Anderson she knows they’re a match made in hedonistic pleasure. And everything that happens between them proves her right. Even better, they both agree their one night together is all they’ll share. 

Now, years later, Seth remains one of Vivian’s favorite memories. Surely the sizzling chemistry has faded, though, right? Apparently not. Because when she sees him again he’s still sinfully attractive. More than that, she actually likes the man he is. When Seth suddenly becomes a full-time dad to a newborn, Vivian falls hard. Despite the changes, however, she knows Seth will never settle down. And he will definitely never commit to one woman. So she needs to strengthen her defenses before she gets into real trouble!

“As she always does, Mayberry has delivered a passionate, psychologically astute romance with a hero and heroine who are both charmingly flawed. The pages practically turn themselves” –  New York Journal of Books.

They do! Pick up a Sarah Mayberry and you’ll be hard pressed to set it down. Which is why you want to buy Her Kind Of Trouble right now. Oh, yes you do! For the paperback try Booktopia, Bookworld, Amazon, Book Depository, Barnes & Noble, direct from the publisher Harlequin or Mills & Boon Australia, or your local chain store. For the ebook click on Amazon, iBooks, Google Play, Kobo, JB Hi-Fi or your favourite ebook retailer.

Now, have fun with Sarah!

Cravings

One of the things I love about writing books is that I get to give my characters the cars, houses, wardrobes and shoe collections I would love to have in real life – and I also get to feed them. I don’t think I have ever fed one of my characters something that I personally can’t stand. That would be so…wrong. More often than not, they get to have something I am craving or something I wish I could try again. Her Kind of Trouble is no exception to this rule.

I don’t want to ruin the plot for you, but there is some sadness mixed in with the sexy times and romance in this book, and at one point the heroine comes over to the hero’s house and cooks him dinner before lining up the shot glasses, breaking out the tequila bottle and helping him deal with his feelings.

Here’s a little excerpt from the scene:

“How’s your liver?” she asked as she reached for the tequila bottle.

“I own a bar, remember?” There was a good measure of his old cockiness in his response.

“Big talk, Anderson. Let’s see you put your money where your mouth is.”

“That doesn’t even make sense. You bought the tequila, remember?”

“You know what I mean.”

“To Lola,” she said solemnly.

 Grief raced across Seth’s face like a cloud across the sun. Then he blinked and nodded and raised his own glass. “To Lola.”

They both licked the salt off their hands before knocking back the tequila and sucking on their lime wedges. Vivian inhaled sharply as the alcohol seared its way down her throat to her belly.

“Oh, man, I hate tequila,” Seth said.

“I know. You could so strip marine varnish with this stuff. Brutal.” She poured them a second shot as she spoke, and Seth reached for the salt cellar.

“Gives the worst hang-overs, too,” he said.

“No way. Nothing is worse than a champagne hangover,” she said, sliding his shot across the table toward him.

“Talk to me tomorrow,” he said knowingly.

They both threw back their second shots, Seth wincing as though he’d just swallowed acid.

“Feeling alive yet?” she asked him.

Before she gets Seth drunk, however, Vivian cooks him dinner – Mexican, Vivian style. I LOVE Mexican, always have, always will. Here is my chicken fajitas, Vivian style, as featured in Her Kind of Trouble.

Vivian’s Chicken Fajitas with Two Salsas

2 chicken breasts

2 medium Spanish/red onions

1/2 a fresh pineapple

1 fresh lime

A handful of fresh mint leaves

A ripe avocado

1 large or 2 medium tomatoes

Burritos/soft tacos of your choice

Olive oil

Portuguese chicken/Cajun Chicken spice mix or other spicy chicken seasoning of your choice

1. Slice the chicken breast into bite sized pieces, then coat them with the spicy chicken seasoning of your choice. I’ve found both Cajun Chicken and Portuguese Chicken seasoning to be good. Pour olive oil into a frying pan and cook.

2. While the chicken is cooking, dice the Spanish onions finely and separate into two bowls, half per bowl.  Slice the pineapple, removing skin and hard core, then finely dice also. Mix the pineapple with one portion of onion, then slice the mint leaves finely and add to the same bowl. To complete the pineapple/mint salsa, squeeze the juice from a fresh lime and mix through the pineapple and mint.

3. Dice the avocado and add to the second bowl of diced onion. Cut the tomato in half and scoop out the seeds, then dice finely. Add to the second bowl, season with salt and pepper. You can also add a dash of olive oil at this point if you like.

4. Place your cooked chicken, bowls of salsa and warmed tortillas onto the kitchen bench or table, and invite your family and friends to assemble their own fajita.

The mix of the tart pineapple and lime juice with the mellow avocado and spicy chicken makes this one of my favourite easy summer meals. I think Seth liked it quite a bit, too! I hope you enjoy!

 

I will most assuredly, Sarah! Thank you. What a zingy fast meal, perfect for whipping up mid-week or weekend lazing with a margarita in hand.

GIVEAWAY!

Now, Feasters, we know you love a giveaway and Sarah has a beauty! Simply reveal your favourite spicy dish and you’ll go into the draw to win not only a paperback copy of Her Satisfaction by Sarah MayberryKind Of Trouble but also an ebook copy of Satisfaction AND a packet of the world’s best biscuit, Tam-Tams!

How’s that for a prize? Told you it was a beauty. So start sharing your favourite spicy foods and get yourself in the draw.

I don’t even have to think about what my favourite spicy dish is. I have a dead simple rice noodle and pork stir-fry recipe using chilli bean sauce that I just love. Like, really love. To the point that I could eat it every night for a week, easily. But what about you? Maybe you love a fiery rogan josh? Perhaps a Moroccan tagine is more your go. What about a bit of well-seasoned chorizo? There are plenty out there and your favourite could make you a winner. And a very happy reader!

Giveaway closes midnight Tuesday AEST, 15th April 2014. Open internationally. Rah!

If you’d like to learn more about Sarah and her books, please visit her website. You can also connect via Twitter using @MayberrySarah.

This giveaway has now closed. Congratulations to Julie who’ll be not only enjoying Sarah’s wonderful books but soon tasting Tim-Tams! Thanks to everyone else who played along in the Friday Feast fun. Wonderful comments as always.

FRIDAY FEAST with Elise K. Ackers

‘Tis fabulous Friday again! Which means I can brag about my most excellent golf game before introducing my equally excellent guest. Oh, come on, I know you want to hear how I actually managed to play to my handicap for the first time in months, and how I would have scored even better had I not had those two duffed shots on the 17th. The question now is, can I do it again? Knowing the Hein prowess at golf, probably not.Author Elise K. Ackers

Never mind, I’ll always have Friday Feast to cheer me up, and I’m feeling very cheery indeed about today’s guest. If you haven’t read contemporary romance and romantic suspense author Elise K. Ackers then you need to correct the situation fast. This girl is talented. Like really talented. Elise’s stories vibrate with tension and emotion, featuring vivid characters that draw you into their lives and sweep you along on a heart-warming, drama-packed ride. Yes, I ‘m a complete fan girl and I’m not afraid to say it!

Elise has just released the third book in her cracking Homeland series, Ask Me For Tomorrow. Take a look.

 

ASK ME FOR TOMORROW

 

Cover of Ask Me For Tomorrow by Elise K. AckersThree years after losing his wife, Dean Foster feels like he’s living in a daze. When he finds himself attracted to his new employee, it comes as quite a shock.

Single mum, Alice Jaye, is struggling to make ends meet. She’s too tired to flirt with her gorgeous new boss and firmly maintains a professional distance. But when their children bring them into close contact, keeping their relationship strictly business isn’t easy.

As Alice and her son spend more time with his family, Dean’s heart begins to open once more. But can he risk starting all over again?

This eagerly anticipated final book of the Homeland series is a tender, heartwarming story about letting go of the past and giving love a second chance.

 

Eagerly anticipated indeed. And you can have your own copy right now. Buy direct from Destiny Romance or try Kobo, JB Hi-Fi, BigW ebooks, Google Play, iTunes or Amazon for Kindle. If ebooks aren’t your thing, keep your eye out for the paperback collection of all three Homeland books, coming February 2013.

And now please give a big cheer for Elise!

 

If I Appear On This Blog Five Times, I’ll Run Out Of Things I Can Cook

 

I’m delighted to be a guest on Cathryn’s Friday Feast, and admittedly, a little worried. If even one person makes this recipe, that’s a lot of responsibility on me. So allow me to preface the following with a warning: my cooking skills leave a lot to be desired. I can make five dinner dishes really well, five other dinner dishes moderately well, and the rest are out of my league. I’m a dessert girl. For eating, for making – I’m the person who thrusts her hand in the air to volunteer to bake for, well, any reason at all.

Yet here I am, offering you a dinner dish because I wanted to challenge myself. But before you run away, the below recipe is for one of the better dinner dishes. One I’ve cooked for many, many people who are all still alive, and who remember the evening fondly (unless they’ve all agreed to never mention the meal, kind of like Bridget Jones’s blue soup incident).

My mum walked me through this recipe before I moved out of home, and I’ve since adjusted it to be infinitely sweeter. You may find iterations of it on the web or in a cookbook – I’m not sure where my mum first learned it, but she successfully sent me out into the world with a few dishes in my repertoire. I was a very reluctant student, so hats off to her. I have since learned, I think… two more dinner recipes on my own.

Yet I’ll turn up with a new kind of cake, slice or biscuit almost every fortnight.

So without further ado, I’d like to share my favourite chicken dish. It’s on the sweet side and can be garnished with any number of things. I’m quite minimalist about extras due to personal preference, so feel free to add colour, texture and taste where you see fit. And indemnify me from all outcomes!

 

Creamy Honey Mustard Chicken

 Creamy honey mustard chicken ingredients

 

Ingredients:

1 tablespoon of vegetable oil

4-6 chicken breasts

1 tablespoon of honey mustard

2-3 tablespoons of honey

1/3 teaspoon of garlic

1 small container of thickened cream (use less if you don’t like so much sauce)

2 bundles of Hakubaku Organic Somen Noodles

Mushrooms, onions, chicken stock, beans, etc all optional. Let your tastebuds guide you!

 

Directions:

  1. Cut chicken into finger-width strips.
  2. Cook noodles as directed on packet.
  3. Simultaneously heat oil in a large frying pan and cook the chicken until golden brown. Remove from heat and set aside.
  4. In a bowl, mix mustard, honey, garlic and cream.
  5. Put frying pan with chicken over low-medium heat, stir in sauce and heat through.
  6. Strain noodles, arrange on plates and load chicken and sauce on top.

This is an almost colourless dish if you don’t add mushrooms, beans, etc, but having never added more flair than a sprig of parsley, I can’t make suggestions on this front.

This is very tasty, it reheats really well, I’ve lost count of how many times I’ve made it and I’m confident someone in your house will like it.

If Cathryn invites me back, I promise next time to share one of my baking recipes. They’re all terrible for your teeth and waistline, which of course, means they’re divine.

Thanks for having me Cathryn, I’ve worked up my appetite now!

 

So have I, Elise! Mmm, honey mustard chicken. Now that’s a dish to make your mouth water, and perfect to tempt the tummies of any fussy eaters out there, I’m sure.

Now, clever Feasters, do you have a fall-back recipe? One you know can’t fail you – that you’re perhaps a little known for?

Me, I make awesome Greek meatballs (if I do say so myself) that even the fussiest eater will adore. Lovely little balls of spiced lamb in a delicious tomato sauce, served with what else but a fetta laden Greek salad. Oh, I just gave myself the slurpies thinking about that. What a bugger we’re having stir-fry for dinner…

So what’s your crowd-pleaser? Share and everyone will pounce on you for the recipe, or think you’re awesome, or both. There is kudos in commenting!

If you’d like to learn more about Elise and her amazing books, please visit her website. You can also connect via Twitter, Google + and Facebook.

 

 

FRIDAY FEAST with Victoria Purman

And so our favourite day of the week comes around again. What have you planned for the weekend? I’m feeling a tad bereft because there’s no more footy. Fortunately, I have boxed sets of my beloved Sydney Swans Premiership seasons to see me through the dark times. And lots of books. Lots and lots of books, including the debut release of this week’s Friday Feast guest, Victoria Purman. Austrlalian author Victoria PurmanAnd I tell you, if there was ever a story to put you in the mood for a long Aussie summer it’ll be Nobody But Him.

I met Victoria recently at the Romance Writers of Australia conference in Fremantle and was immediately struck by her professionalism and easy going nature. Then again, she does hail from South Australia, my home state, so these things are to be expected.

Nobody But Him is the first in Victoria’s Boys of Summer trilogy (earworm anyone? Since I typed that all I can hear is Don Henley) and has just hit the shelves. Take a gander at this bronzed Aussie!

 

NOBODY BUT HIM

 

Nobody But Him by Victoria Purman coverShe didn’t expect to run into her first love… or to fall back in love with him!

At eighteen, Julia Jones left for the city with a head full of grand plans for an exciting life that certainly didn’t include her hometown of Middle Point – a main street with a pub – or Ryan Blackburn.

But fifteen years – and a lifetime later – she’s forced to put her big city life on hold when she heads home to finalise her mother’s estate. Which is where she runs smack bang into the town’s new champion… the same Ryan Blackburn.

The sensible thing to do? Stay the hell away from him and head back to Melbourne as fast as her stilettos can carry her. But Julia finds his offer of a helping hand and a hot body too delicious to refuse and dives into a reckless, one-time fling.

What she doesn’t realise is that tomorrow has a way of sneaking up, and that saying goodbye to her home town – and to Ryan – is much harder the second time around.

 

You can own your own copy of Nobody But Him with just a couple of clickety-clicks. Buy direct from the publisher Harlequin or try most excellent Australian bookseller and ARRC sponsor Booktopia. There’s also Bookworld, QBD The Bookshop, Boomerang Books, or your local independent or chain store. For the ebook, try Kobo, JB Hi-Fi, Google Play, Amazon (for Kindle), iTunes and the new BigW ebook store.

Seriously, it makes me proud to see so all the Australian stories dominating our bricks and mortar stores and virtual shelves at the moment. Anyway, enough of me, here’s Victoria!

 

 

Lock, stock and barrel

 

Has anyone else ever wandered the supermarket aisles and become increasingly concerned about the growing profusion of packet mixes and insta-meals?

I get the heebie-jeebies every time I read the back of the label and barely recognize anything that seems like real food.

Don’t get me wrong. I’m a working mother of three teenagers and I’m certainly not averse to doing whatever it takes to feed the Hungry Horde.

And I’m not what you might call a health nut, either. Those who know about my consumption of wine and chocolate know this to be true. (To those who don’t know me, I consume a lot of wine and chocolate.)

But I don’t want my kids to be loaded down with salt and preservatives and chemicals when I can make the real thing at home – salt and preservative free – for much less.

Hence my recipe for my weekly, reliable standby: Chicken Stock.

I approach cooking as I do writing a book.

On the surface, it’s all exciting – doing the shopping, looking at the labels and the recipe books, making everything look beautifully plated up and Master Chef-y.

The writing equivalent is spending lots of time online with search engine terms that include “shirtless” and “man”; thinking about your cover; and how famous you’re going to be when it sells squillions.

But when you get down to it, there are some basic you shouldn’t ignore.

No matter what genre you write in, every book needs a solid story at its heart.

I think of my Chicken Stock that way – a solid base of flavour for a zillion meals.

I’m not kidding when I say Chicken Stock is easy. The Hungry Horde doesn’t have time for complicated.

I cook up a batch on the weekend and have it sitting in the fridge so I can scoop out what I need during the week for meals in the slow cooker, casserole dishes, stir-fries or soups.

It’s especially handy for those dreaded days when all you have left in the fridge is a couple of near-dead zucchinis, a floret or two of broccoli and a cauliflower (you know, the one you bought in the vain hope that your kids would actually eat it).

Gather the veggies, chop finely, cook them all up in the stock until tender, give it a whizz and voila – vegetable soup. My kids love it. Even when I tell Boy13 there’s zucchini in it.

 

Victoria’s Chicken Stock

 

  • Chicken carcasses (I use two because they come that way in the supermarket). Don’t worry about trimming off the fat – while important, that comes later.Stock pot with chicken carcases
  • Veggies – celery, carrots, onion, minced garlic
  • Pepper (and salt if you wish)
  • Water

Use a big stock saucepan and place the chicken bones in it.

Raid the fridge for whatever veggies you have. I always keep a few celery leaves and stalks in the freezer (did I mention I hate wasting food?) and pop them in to the saucepan with an onion chopped in half (you don’t even need to peel it), and a roughly chopped carrot. Add some minced garlic (from the jar I have in the fridge), a little pepper, and add water until the chicken bones are covered.

Bring to the boil.

Chicken and vegetables in the stock pot ready for boilingWhen it’s boiling, turn down to simmer and let the magnificent aromas fill the house. I usually leave it for about an hour, so the flavours really intensify.

Let the stock cool, and then strain out all the chicken and the veggies. Pour into a container and chill overnight. This step is really important, as the fat congeals at the top and can be easily scooped off the next day.

Your stock is ready, totally delicious and made from real food.

Make soup! Add to day-old rice in a wok and it will taste delicious! Use a cupful any time a recipe calls for stock cubes or stock powder!

Here’s stir-fry rice I made with the stock. The Hungry Horde loved it.

 Stir fried rice made with Victoria's chicken stock

 

Ahh, Victoria, you’re a woman after my own heart. Actually, can a girl say that or is that a man to woman thing? Hmm. Dunno, but you’re definitely a kindred spirit with all that wine, chocolate and home-made stock. Must be our South Australian genes!

Now, my darling Feasters, don those bikinis and budgie smugglers and channel your favourite summer past-time because Victoria has generously offered a most fabulous giveaway. Reveal what you like to get up to over summer and you could win yourself a copy of Nobody But Him. Perfect relaxation material.

Me? Over summer I play golf and eat lots of seafood washed down with wine, which is probably why my golf game is terrible…

What do you get up to for summer fun? Share and you could win!

Giveaway closes midnight AEST, Tuesday 8th October 2013. Australian postal addresses only.

If you’d like to learn more about Victoria and her books please visit her website. You can also connect via Facebook and Twitter.

This giveaway has now closed. Congratulations to Kerrie who is in for a whole lot of reading fun with Nobody But Him. Thanks to everyone who joined in. 

FRIDAY FEAST with Anna Campbell

A happy bouncy Friday to you all! I hope you’re all revved up for a fantastic weekend. I know I am. It’s AFL Footy Finals time and my beloved Sydney Swans are out to defend their premiership crown, plus I have one of my favourite Author Anna CampbellAussie authors visiting Friday Feast. Too much excitement!!

Multi-award winning author Anna Campbell writes luscious Regency period historicals overflowing with passion and emotion. They’re simply brilliant reads and I’m a huge fan-girl who gets more than a little bit giggly in Anna’s presence. Thanks to winning ARRA’s Favourite Australian Romance Author Award four years in a row, it’s fair to say she’s the reigning queen. A girl’s bound to get a bit silly!

Anna’s latest release is A Rake’s Midnight Kiss, a book I’m very much looking forward to reading, not least because of its magnificent cover. Take a look…

 

A RAKE’S MIDNIGHT KISS

 

A Rake's Midnight Kiss by Anna CampbellIt Takes a Lady…

Brilliant scholar Genevieve Barrett knows how to keep a secret. Her identity as the author of her father’s academic articles has always been her greatest deception-until a charming housebreaker tries to steal the mysterious Harmsworth Jewel from her. She doesn’t reveal that she recognizes her father’s devastatingly handsome new student as the thief himself. For Genevieve, this will be the most seductive secret of all…

...To Catch a Thief!

Sir Richard Harmsworth has been living a lie, maintaining a rakish facade to show society that he doesn’t care about his status as a bastard. Yet long haunted by his unknown father’s identity, Richard believes the Harmsworth Jewel will confirm his claim as the rightful heir. But when Richard sets out to seduce the bookworm who possesses the stone, he instead falls for its beautiful owner. But even as she steals Richard’s heart, Genevieve will be in greater danger than her coveted treasure…

 

You want this, oh yes you do! And you can score your own rake with just a few easy clicks. Try most excellent Aussie bookseller Booktopia, otherwise Amazon or Bookdepository. For the ebook, try Kobo, Amazon (Kindle), JB Hi-Fi, Google Play, iTunes or your favourite retailer.

And now I present the Romance Queen. Take it away, Anna!

 

Life is a Picnic!

 

Hi Cathryn! Thank you so much for having me as your guest today on Friday Feast. You know I love being here, although I always feel like I emerge five kilos heavier after I’ve read your guests’ posts! Yum, yum, yum. Followed by nom, nom, nom.

Oh, dear, I’m starting to sound like an Internet Cat! I promise no cheeseburgers were harmed in the making of this post.

One of the fun things about visiting this blog (apart from hanging out with the very groovy Cathryn) is talking about scenes in my latest release that involve food. Last time I was here, I discussed yummy American wedding cakes. AndSeven Nights in a Rogue's Bed by Anna Campbell the time before that, I talked about a scene in SEVEN NIGHTS IN A ROGUE’S BED involving seduction by baklava.

By the way, if anyone wants to try this out on me for real, I’m game. I LOVE baklava!

In A RAKE’S MIDNIGHT KISS, my latest release, more meal scenes are more prevalent than usual, partly because my rascally hero Sir Richard Harmsworth has infiltrated himself into the heroine’s home under a false identity. There are quite a few prickly conversations over the dinner table as Genevieve strives to dampen his seductive wiles. Needless to say, she doesn’t get far, but watching heroines try and depress our heroes’ impudence is always fun, isn’t it?

Probably the most enjoyable meal for my hero and heroine takes place on a punt in Oxford. Richard has lured Genevieve into floating away to a secluded spot under a willow where sensual pleasures are rife. Including lunch!

These Regency rakes know how to picnic in style. Fine gilded china. Crystal glasses. Linen napkins. Silk-covered cushions. Vintage champagne – allowing me to employ that romance staple, the heroine wrinkling her nose at her first taste. It’s a scene that pops up often in a romance. I think it’s a show don’t tell moment to demonstrate that the hero intends to sweep our heroine away into a world of new and glorious experiences.

Like all good Regency picnics, the one in A RAKE’S MIDNIGHT KISS involves roast chicken. So I thought today, I’d share a VERY complicated recipe for chicken.

 

Anna Campbell’s Chicken and Wine

(degree of difficulty: 1 million stars)

A chicken ready for roasting with a bottle of wine

  1. Cover the bottom of a baking dish with oil of choice.
  2. Place in conventional oven at 180/200 degrees Celsius. Heat for 30/45 minutes.
  3. Take fresh or defrosted chicken and remove fat from the cavity. Rinse out the cavity. Wrap in tea towel to absorb extra moisture. Don’t refrigerate at this point.
  4. Pour large glass of wine and sit down somewhere comfy. Drink at own pace. Refilling as needed. If you are the heroine of a romance novel and the wine is a sparkling variety, wrinkle your nose, giggle winningly and say, ‘Oh!’ to the bubbles. Await kisses.
  5. When oil is sizzling hot (and preferably before you’ve had TOO much wine), place chicken in baking dish, breast down. Move around a bit to seal and to stop skin sticking to the pan. Baste.
  6. Return baking dish to the oven for 45 minutes.
  7. Repeat step 4.
  8. Stagger to oven. Turn chicken over and baste. Return to oven. If it’s a large chicken, leave it another 40/45 minutes. For a smaller chicken, around 30 minutes, but check regularly after 20 minutes, basting each time.
  9. Repeat step 4.
  10. Remove chicken. Let it sit for 15 minutes. Carve and eat.
  11. Open a new bottle of wine if old one is exhausted.
  12. Repeash shtep foursh. Hic!

I hope one day you’ll all try this complicated but rewarding recipe. I’ve made it several times myself to great headaches, um, success.

So let’s talk picnics. What’s your ideal picnic location? Picnic menu? Picnic companion? Or don’t you like picnics at all and you’d rather do you nose wrinkling indoors?

I’ve got a print copy of A RAKE’S MIDNIGHT KISS (with de rigueur champagne scene and roast chicken) for one commenter today. Giveaway is international!

 

Roast chicken and wine…ooh, Anna, you’ve captured my heart! I can so, so relate to this kind of cooking. Happens rather regularly here on Friday nights thanks to Friday Feast inspiration.

Now, my most gorgeous Feasters, you heard Anna. A print copy of A Rake’s Midnight Kiss awaits one lucky commenter. So get those typing fingers ready and share your picnic love (or unlove).

Me, I adore a good picnic, even good old Aussie ones with ants and flies and other critters. My darling beloved used to treat me to rainy day picnics, where we’d lay out a rug on the lounge room floor, crack a bottle of excellent white wine, have a bucket of prawns at the ready and opera (yes, OPERA – we’re classy folk here at Chez Hein) on the telly. Prawns, a good white, Turandot, and a lovely time can be had. As long as my darling Sydney Swans aren’t playing at the time, of course!

Giveaway closes midnight Tuesday AEST, 10th September 2013. Open internationally. Rah!

If you’d like to learn more about Anna and her wonderful books, please visit her website. You can also connect via Facebook and Twitter.

 

This giveaway has now closed. Congratulations to Paula who won herself a copy of Anna’s new release A Rake’s Midnight Kiss. Thanks to everyone who took part. Hope you had as much fun as Anna and I did.